CuspAI Raises $30M to Develop a GenAI-Driven Search Engine for New Materials

The traditional approach to creating new materials involves making something and then using a computer to determine whether the material was successful. However, what if this process were reversed, using generative-AI-driven software to design the material from the beginning? That's the idea behind CuspAI, based in Cambridge, U.K., which has recently secured $30 million in seed funding led by Hoxton Ventures, with significant participation from Basis Set Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

According to co-founder and CEO Chad Edwards, the company is transforming the old process and exploring the concept of inputting properties to generate materials and molecules, as opposed to inputting materials to obtain properties.

The market is currently dominated by companies like Schrodinger and Dassault Systemes, which offer software tools for computational chemistry and material simulations. A newer player, Orbital Materials, with a team from Google's DeepMind, has an AI-powered platform for discovering various materials, from batteries to carbon dioxide-capturing cells, and recently raised $16 million in a Series A round.

CuspAI sees its platform as a search engine for materials, enabling quick evaluation of a wide range of novel structures. Edwards believes the company is entering an era of 'materials-on-demand,' where users can search for specific properties and discover corresponding materials and molecules.

The company, founded this year, faces significant challenges but benefits from the expertise of co-founder Max Welling, a renowned pioneer in AI, and board adviser Geoffrey Hinton, often referred to as the 'Godfather of AI.' CuspAI aims to leverage AI to design new materials for addressing pressing issues like climate change, specifically focusing on carbon capture and storage.

CuspAI has partnered with Meta's open science project to accelerate the discovery of new materials to combat climate change. Investors in the funding round include LocalGlobe, Northzone, Touring Capital, Giant Ventures, FJ Labs, Tiferes Ventures, and Zero Prime Ventures, as well as angel investors from DeepMind. The company is poised to make significant contributions to the field of materials science through AI-driven innovation.